COMMODITIES-Oil gains, gold slips as turbulent week ends
NEW YORK, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Commodity markets closed mixed on Friday, with crude oil up as the dollar declined and gold down on profit taking after a 3 percent jump a day earlier, as investors pondered their next moves after the U.S. budget battles in Washington. The 19 commodity markets in Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB benchmark were evenly split between winners and losers. Gold fell as investors took profits after the previous session's 3 percent run-up. The run-up was on expectations the partial U.S. government shutdown will lead the Federal Reserve to postpone tapering of its bond-buying stimulus program. The bond buying has supported gold, in part because it put dollars in circulation for investors to buy the metal. "Once the government re-opened and the agenda moved on from the debt crisis to next week's Federal Reserve meeting, that was a trigger for gold to see some upside," Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said, adding that it will likely sell off in the long run once Fed tapering talk resumes. Spot gold fell 0.26 percent to $1,315.60 an ounce by 4:41 p.m. EDT (2041 GMT). U.S. Comex gold futures for December delivery settled down $8.40 an ounce at $1,314.60, with volume about 40 percent below its 30-day average. Investors were also attempting to position for a deluge of U.S. economic data next week, now that the U.S. government has re-opened after a two-week shutdown. September non-farm payrolls data are due out on Tuesday. Concerns about the negative impact of the shutdown on the U.S. economy and the likelihood the Fed would leave its bond-buying program intact until well into 2014 weighed on the dollar, driving it to an 8-1/2-month low against the euro and a currency basket. The weaker dollar gave a moderate boost to oil prices, along with a report showing China's economy grew in the third quarter at its quickest pace this year. Gross domestic product in China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, grew at a 7.8 percent rate in the third quarter from a year ago. "I think it's sinking back into the market that the Fed is probably not going to be changing its stimulus plan," said Gene McGillian, analyst with Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. The Fed's stimulus measures have boosted commodity markets, in part, by softening the U.S. currency and making dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies. Brent crude settled 83 cents higher at $109.94 a barrel. U.S. crude oil gained 14 cents and settled at $100.81 a barrel. In Chicago, U.S. wheat surged nearly 3 percent, passing $7 per bushel for the first time since June, as a smaller-than-expected production forecast from Argentina fed optimism that importing countries will need more U.S. wheat. Corn futures finished the day lower, pressured by the ongoing harvest of a likely record-large U.S. crop. Soybeans eased in a profit-taking setback following strong gains on Thursday.
Prices at 3:57 p.m. EDT (1957 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD CLOSE CHG CHG CHG US crude 100.80 0.13 0.1% 9.8% Brent crude 110.09 0.98 0.9% -0.9% Natural gas 3.764 0.007 0.2% 12.3% US gold 1314.60 -8.40 -0.6% -21.6% Gold 1314.36 -4.73 -0.4% -21.5% US Copper 3.29 0.00 0.1% -9.8% LME Copper 7245.00 15.00 0.2% -8.6% Dollar 79.633 -0.016 0.0% 3.7% CRB 286.918 0.501 0.2% -2.7% US corn 441.50 -1.50 -0.3% -36.8% US soybeans 1291.25 -2.00 -0.2% -9.0% US wheat 705.75 19.75 2.9% -9.3% US Coffee 114.65 -0.05 0.0% -20.3% US Cocoa 2721.00 -46.00 -1.7% 21.7% US Sugar 19.50 0.50 2.6% -0.1% US silver 21.869 21.650 1.6% -27.7% US platinum 1434.80 2.90 0.0% -6.8% US palladium 739.65 2.85 0.4% 5.2%